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Hot stock: StarHub share price hits 9-year low

STARHUB'S share price hit an almost nine-year low as news emerged that it will no longer be screening offerings from the Discovery brand due to an impasse in negotiations between the two.

In addition, StarHub has been removed from the MSCI Singapore Index after its mid-year review, and included instead in the MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index. The change will be effective before the end of May 31.

The stock was trading at S$1.92 in early trading on Thursday, but had recovered slightly after the lunch break. StarHub's stocks eventually closed S$0.07 or 3.5 per cent lower at S$1.93 on Thursday with heavy trading of some 91.3 million shares.

The telco's shares had not traded at S$1.93 since late November 2009.

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Discovery channel announced on May 30 that all 11 Discovery channels will be pulled from StarHub's offerings as the telco was "not prepared to pay fair value" for the content.

After June 30, StarHub television subscribers could lose seven popular lifestyle channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC.

Then, after Aug 31, four more channels including Food Network, HGTV and Asian Food Channel could also be gone.

"We have a responsibility to now take the extraordinary step of informing our viewers that they may lose all the Discovery channels they are paying for on StarHub," Discovery said in a statement at the time.

In response, a StarHub spokesman said that the pay-TV operator is in renewal negotiations with Discovery and "are doing everything possible to arrive at a deal which would allow Discovery and StarHub to continue our partnership while offering our customers the same content at a reasonable price".

StarHub added it was "acquiring fresh replacement content in the event that negotiations prove unsuccessful".